HENRY GLASSIE: FIELD WORK
2019, 105 minutes
Henry Glassie has made a life out of studying folk artists and the marvels they create. Over the past 50 years, the renown US scholar has travelled to five continents, conducting fieldwork with an obsessive thoroughnes. Each project Glassie undertakes requires at least a decade. Brimming with insights into the artistic impulse -- and how every culture manifests its own standard of beauty and meaning -- this poetic portrait of Glassie doubles as a travelogue, taking us places Glassie has embedded himself.
In Bahia, Brazil, we meet Evidal Rosas, charged with reconstructing sacred statues for which remain no record, and Rosalvo Santana, who meticulously sculpts from clay a magisterial saint flanked by cherubs. Captured with mesmerizing intimacy by director Pat Collins (Song of Granite) and cinimatographer Colm Hogan, the process of these artists is awe-inspiring.
Henry GlassieL Field Work also allows us to witness the walling up of a massive kiln in Piedmont, North California, and features archival recordings of Glassie's encounters with carpet weavers and ceramicists in Western Turkey, and storytellers in Collins and Hogan's home country of Ireland, where Glassie's subjects reflect on their troubled present by talking about the past.